Dr. David Brownstein,  editor of Dr. David Brownstein’s Natural Way to Health newsletter, is a board-certified family physician and one of the nation’s foremost practitioners of holistic medicine. Dr. Brownstein has lectured internationally to physicians and others about his success with natural hormones and nutritional therapies in his practice. His books include Drugs That Don’t Work and Natural Therapies That Do!; Iodine: Why You Need It, Why You Can’t Live Without It; Salt Your Way To Health; The Miracle of Natural Hormones; Overcoming Arthritis, Overcoming Thyroid Disorders; The Guide to a Gluten-Free Diet; and The Guide to Healthy Eating. He is the medical director of the Center for Holistic Medicine in West Bloomfield, Mich., where he lives with his wife, Allison, and their teenage daughters, Hailey and Jessica.

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Is My Ferritin Level of 15 Too Low?

Monday, 28 Jun 2010 09:27 AM


Question: I have hemochromatosis and have six phlebotomies a year and a ferritin level of 15, which I have been advised to keep low. Other iron levels are normal. Your article recommends getting ferritin up to 100. Do you disapprove of my low level?

Dr. Brownstein's Answer:

Hemochromatosis is a serious inherited disorder where the body stores excess amounts of iron. As the iron levels climb, the blood becomes sticky and more likely to clot. This can lead to heart attacks and strokes.

Thankfully, there is a safe and effective treatment for hemochromatosis — therapeutic phlebotomies, where blood is drawn off the patient. The idea is to lower the iron level.

Iron overload is a fairly common condition. I screen every patient for it. Optimal ferritin levels are around 100 ng/ml. Those with iron overload conditions such as hemochromatosis should keep their ferritin level below 100 ng/ml. However, a ferritin of 15 ng/ml is too low. You need iron to carry oxygen to your tissues.

I would follow your ferritin level and recommend trying to keep your level between 50 ng/ml and 100 ng/ml.



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